Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Anti-Darwin

 This weekend I had houseguests from out of town. We went to admire a little corner of Dartmoor and I was reminded of something that happened in my childhood.

I think I was probably about 10 or 12 and I was swimming and playing in the river at Cadover Bridge. An unattended toddler fell from the river bank and ended up face down in the water. I recognised that this was important and that I needed to act quickly. I swam as strongly as I was able to the stricken toddler and even though I was nearly out of my depth I grabbed it and lifted it clear of the water. Not long afterwards the mother noticed what had happened, ran to the river's edge shouting, and grabbed her child from me. I was frightened and disturbed by the harsh way she acted and hurt that there wasn't even a word of thanks.

Looking back I can imagine that she was upset and that the welfare of her child was her main concern, but my overriding memory of the event is that I was cross and upset at how harshly I had been treated. Some time later, probably only a quarter of an hour the family approached my mother and I with effusive thanks and I was bought an ice cream. I'm pretty sure that I accepted it with bad grace.


Richard "One star. Would not rescue again." B


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